NORMAN – No. 13/12 Oklahoma (28-7) used a nine-run second inning to ease its way past UAB (11-20) in five innings, 15-0, Sunday in the final game of the College Preview Tournament.
The 15-run margin of victory is tied for the biggest this season, matching a 16-1 victory over UIC on March 11. Additionally, the 15-0 win marked the team’s biggest shutout since a 17-0 victory over St. Mary’s on Feb. 6, 2015.
The Sooners scored their 15 runs Sunday on nine hits, eight walks, two hit by pitches and a pair of UAB errors. Five of the 15 runs were unearned.
Junior Kelsey Arnold and sophomore Sydney Romero each went 2-3 with two runs batted in. Arnold also tied a career high with three runs scored and hit her first home run since freshman year. Meanwhile, Romero collected her third straight game with at least two hits to push her season total to a team-best 14 multi-hit games this year. Sophomore Caleigh Clifton was 1-2 with two hit by pitches. She has 31 in her career and 15 this season, moving into seventh place on the OU single-season list.
Freshman Mariah Lopez earned the win and is now 9-1 on the season. She struck out four with no walks and gave up one hit in 3.0 innings. Fellow freshman Melanie Olmos tossed a career-high 2.0 innings to close out the game. She struck out a career-high two batters and only allowed one baserunner on a hit by pitch.
OU wasted little time getting on the board, taking advantage of the first of two UAB errors.
Clifton hit a one-out bloop single over the head of shortstop Natalie Erwin, while Romero followed with a double down the left field line. Two batters later, Sophomore Fale Aviu hit a chopper up the middle that got under the glove of Erwin, allowing Clifton and Romero to score.
The Sooners backed up the first inning with nine more runs in the second, the team’s second highest scoring inning of the year behind an 11-run first inning versus Incarnate Word on Feb. 17.
OU loaded the bases with a single from Arnold, a fielder’s choice by junior Lea Wodach and a bunt single from Macey Hatfield. Freshman Nicole Mendes then hit a grounder to second base, but it was misplayed by Analyse Petree and Arnold scored. After an out, Romero, sophomore Shay Knighten and Aviu each drew walks to force in three runs, extending OU’s lead to 6-0. Junior Nicole Pendley then brought in two more runs with a single off the wall in center field.
Now up 8-0, Arnold batted for the second time in the inning and drew a walk to fill the bases. A wild pitch moved everyone up, including Aviu, who scored. Wodach took a free pass before senior Macey Hatfield lifted a sacrifice fly to center field. Mendes drew the sixth Sooners walk in the inning, and Clifton forced in Arnold when she was hit by a pitch.
The offense continued in the third inning as the Sooners tacked on four more runs.
Knighten singled and Aviu doubled to start the frame. Pendley then grounded out to second to drive home Knighten, making it 12-0 in OU’s favor.
Arnold batted next and stepped into the right-handed batters’ box. She spent the second half of her freshman season as right-handed hitter after working as a lefty slapper prior to that. She was a lefty full-time last year, and batted from the left side up until a few games ago. On the first pitch she saw Sunday, Arnold drilled a two-run homer to left-center. It was her first of the season and the fourth in her career.
Oklahoma returns to action Tuesday at North Texas at 6 p.m. before welcoming in Iowa State next weekend for the start of Big 12 play.